You have most likely seen at least one meme or heard one teenager say “Ok boomer” over the past year. The joke has blown up quickly, making appearances on Instagram posts, and even in a parliamentary debate in New Zealand. For the Millenial and Gen-Z generation, we seem to find it absolutely hilarious to make fun of the demographic cohort of post World War II. As for the so called “Boomers,” born primarily between the years 1946 and 1964, this joke is not making them laugh as much as the 2010 cat meme on their Facebook timeline.
However, alongside the rise of the “OK, boomer” joke, has come the rise of a controversial debate left under the rug for many years now. Life in 2030 has certainly developed a lot since the mid 1900’s economically, politically, and socially. The hidden problem here isn’t just about how culturally divided our generations are – we knew this already. The problem here is how this division is affecting the progression of our society. Our society has been divided by race, gender, economic class, and age for quite some time, but the generational divide is becoming more prominent than ever as it lays the foundation for a back and forth debate on the distribution of power.
These so-called Boomers have often criticized Gen-Z for its sensitivity towards certain topics, such as gender/sexuality expression, while we like to blame them for their immense contribution to climate change and even financial blunders that continue to impact our lives today as a result of their lack of sensitivity. Despite this back and forth, there is one element that is meant to build a bridge between us. The Boomers were in the same position as us at one point in time. During the 70’s and 80’s, they were the generation criticised for their attempts at social reform, including abortion rights and integration efforts. So why are they in denial about progressive change?
Singapore American School exemplifies the ability to adapt the environment and curriculum to the changing world. But are we ready to accept our differences in opinion with those who came before us? I asked Sara Bach, a sophomore at SAS to get an in depth perspective of a gen-z who attends a school like ours. I asked what they felt the causes of generational divide might be, and how those affect the SAS environment.
“One of the largest factors that leads to a generational divide between the Boomer generation and Gen-z/Millennials is the lack of desire to learn new things and consider change. As humans, we are often reserved when it comes to accepting change and often think the way we are nurtured is right. Therefore, with this mindset, it is posing an increased difficulty with technological and social advancements for different generations to understand each other.Sara Bach, Sophomore at SAS
“At SAS, with recent tensions regarding social media and technology, it is causing many conflicts as there is a barrier between how teens use and interpret media as opposed to the way teachers and other adults do. “Sara Bach, Sophomore at SAS
Perhaps the common ground that we both need to agree on is the simple fact that society is changing. Neither generation’s perspective is the right one; we simply have changed our outlook, rejecting ideals of the past and inventing quite a few of our own. Does that make our new opinions right? No. No more than it makes them wrong. And let’s be honest, we’ll be just as judgemental of the current Kindergarteners by the time they’re old enough to run the world and trample upon the utopia we have established.
Essentially, embracing the changes that come with generation gaps is our best bet at reaching a consensus between all of the age groups that occupy the earth. No doubt, we might be better off agreeing to disagree instead of quibbling over how many years we need to spend at college, how many genders there are, and who was responsible for climate change.